Northern Goshawk Development

2 days
9 days
15 days
22 days
26 days
38 days
45 days
Photo series by
Becky Brunotte, Colorado

Photo 1: 2 days

Eyass goshawk, 3 to 7 days old.
Approximately 13 cm long. The eyass is covered in a soft white natal down and you’re still able to see pink skin. Poor coordination and moves by scooting. At this age they are still being brooded by the mother, they need the warmth from mom because of this thin natal down. Eyes are black.

Photo 2: 9 days

9 to 12 days old.
Nestlings are 15 to 18 cm long with white natal down. Better head coordination but still scooting, they can sit up and use their wings for balance. They are still being brooded by mom.

Photo 3: 15 days

At 14 to 17 days old they are around 20 to 23 cm long and have molted into their second natal down. This down has a gray woolly appearance. Auricular area is still downy but pin feather development of the remiges and rectrices is apparent. As much as 1 cm of feather may have erupted from the pin feather sheaths. They are now able to stand on their tarso-metatarsus while extending their wings for balance. They may stand for brief moments. They begin making preening motions at their breast and wings. They can now stay warm on their own.

Photo 4: 22 days

Eyass at 19 to 22 days old.
Auricular area behind and below the eye is developing as a dark patch of small feathers. Remiges and rectrices are erupting from the pin sheaths and contrast markedly with body down. They can now stand for longer periods to preen and do not use their wings for balance. They begin flapping their wings for short periods.

Photo 5: 26 days

Eyass goshawk 24 to 26 days old.
Auricular area is now covered with small black feathers. The head and neck are still downy, but sheath feathers may be seen beneath the down. Scapular feathers and wing coverts are visible and contrast against the natal down. Nestling are about 1/2 the adult size. They can now stand and preen and do so often. They are now making a fist and trying to stand on one leg.

Photo 6: 38 days

At 38 days body feathers are nearly complete but downy areas persist on the sides of the neck, on the legs and under the wings. They are their full adult size now.

Photo 7: 45 days

Eyass at 45 days old.
The eyes are just beginning to change from blue to a grayish yellow and they are fully feathered but there are still feather tuffs on the ends on the back feathers. Very cute too.